Firms boosting UK social mobility and helping LGBT+ refugees build a better future are among this year’s winners of the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards – the capital’s top responsible business gongs.
They were honoured at last night’s Awards dinner at The Mansion House, in the heart of the City, where the winners received a prestigious ‘Dragon’ from Peter Estlin, the Lord Mayor of the City of London.
The scheme, run by the City of London Corporation, celebrates firms of all sizes and from all sectors who are tackling social problems in London and the UK.
This year’s applicants supported over 2.5m people across the UK, helping communities, charities and local enterprises and investing £32m.
They mobilised 55,000 business volunteers who contributed over 194,000 hours to community groups, schools and individuals across the UK.
This year has seen a huge variety of winners, from global investment businesses to legal firms, and from charities to architecture companies.
The winners were:
The Innovation Award : Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLPfor its ‘Micro Rainbow’ scheme.The legal firm has teamed up with Micro Rainbow to open the UK’s first ever safe-house for LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers. The initiative runs on volunteer work, financial support and pro-bono legal advice. Since 2017, the partnership has supported 37 homeless LGBT+ asylum seekers into safe housing.
Boosting Social Impact Award : Mace Group for its ‘Volunteering for Better Communities’ initiative. Mace works with its supply chain and volunteers to create group community projects in the built environment. Each partner offers a part of the work as pro-bono, or makes material donations. Projects include the refurbishment of a children’s charity café, mock interview and CV writing classes across London and running the Mace Science Club, an after-school STEM club managed by Mace staff.
Lord Mayor’s Award for Leadership in Digital Skills : Nominet plc & Livity for its ‘Nominet Digital Neighbourhood’ scheme.The programme works with 18-25 year-olds across the UK. Participants take part in training days with a qualified expert in digital skills including marketing, website build, social media analytics, and Google Adwords. Participants are then matched with local SMEs in a paid placement.
Regional Impact Award : Standard Life Aberdeen, for its ‘Investing in Better Futures’ programme.The scheme supports youth employment and social mobility, helping people from all backgrounds to progress to a better future through meaningful jobs . Its inclusive employment programmes include – Get Hired!, partnership with the Prince’s Trust, a direct school leaver employment programme and a national partnership with Career Ready UK.
The Inclusive Employment Award : K&M McLoughlin Decorating Ltd for its ‘Skills for Jobs’ initiative.The programme is a four-week pre-employment course helping people to get jobs in the construction industry. Developing individual employment skills, the firm has created a network of London companies in the industry who want to take on apprentices and older workers. They also work with two local schools running short courses as an introduction to construction.
Community Partners Award : IntoUniversity for its partnership with UBS. The partnership helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain university places. UBS has supported IntoUniversity though funding, fundraising, volunteering, strategic support, and sponsoring events.
Heart of the City Award : Formation Architects for its ‘Formation Community’ outreach programme. Its CSR scheme has 22 volunteers who have dedicated over 3,000 hours to fundraising and pro-bono activity since it began in 2017. The firm has supported the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust through fundraising events, running the Big Vitality Half Marathon, encouraged payroll giving, and by providing work placements and workshops as part of its “Building Futures” programme.
Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said:
“London’s firms are going the extra mile to make a difference, and through their responsible business programmes they are benefitting society and staff at the same time.
“Businesses are thinking out of the box to see how they can make the most of the skillsets and the resources they have to change people’s lives for the better.
“It’s important we recognise and celebrate the fantastic work which many firms are doing. Responsible business is no longer simply about engaging with local communities, it is about building a future workforce and creating a better and fairer society.”
Rob Powell, Head of Pro Bono & Corporate Responsibility in London at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, added:
“It’s a huge honour to win a Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award. At Weil, we call the time we spend on pro bono work ‘Our Finest Hours’ and that is certainly true of our partnership with Micro Rainbow. Their ground-breaking approach to supporting LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers has delivered a tangible social impact and it’s a pleasure to have played a small part in it.“
Tim Campbell, Founder of the Bright Ideas Trust and compère of this year’s Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, said:
“Last night, we celebrated the very best of responsible businesses. We honoured the firms that go beyond the extra mile to create a lasting, positive impact in their communities.
“There is some truly amazing work being done by businesses to help local communities, to tackle society’s most pressing problems and to act as great Corporate Citizens.
“We need more work like this and more firms stepping forward to take part. By celebrating the ones we do have, we hope to encourage other firms to take up similar initiatives and play their part in creating the society we are all proud to celebrate.”
The Awards attract high-quality applications from a variety of organisations across London- from SMEs to big City firms.
Previous Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award winners have reported winning new contracts, improved internal relationships, stronger reputations and increased PR.
Since 1987, Awards applicants have helped over 10 million people, mobilising 200,000 business volunteers and giving nearly £250 million in donations and in-kind support to London’s communities.
The Awards form one part of the City of London Corporation’s commitment to working in partnership with businesses, charities and neighbouring boroughs to create a more responsible, inclusive and competitive London.
To find out more about the Awards, follow us via @Dragon_Awards and #DragonAwards or email Dragon.Awards@cityoflondon.gov.uk to be added to the mailing list.
Notes to Editors
The City Corporation also funds Heart of the City, a charity supporting a network of London companies to run their own responsible business programmes. And the City Corporation boosts young people’s employability through partnerships with City firms on apprenticeships, mentoring and paid work placements schemes.
In partnership with the Social Mobility Commission and the Social Mobility Foundation, the City Corporation launched the world’s first Social Mobility Employer Index. It ranks the top 50 UK employers who have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace, incentivising firms to improve access to top quality jobs for candidates from all backgrounds.
The City Corporation itself pledged to employ and sustain 100 apprentices and in 2017 and 2018, the Sutton Trust named the City Corporation as the best UK academy sponsor for its work supporting GCSE pupils from low-income families to achieve top grades.
Its charitable arm, City Bridge Trust, gives £20m every year to charitable and community organisations across London. And it works closely with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which runs City Giving Day, a celebration of the City of London’s philanthropic and responsible business activities.